Living Streets has teamed up with an award-winning community activist to create a ‘how to’ guide, to help people set up a pocket park – or ‘parklet’ - on their street.

Parklets have been popular in the US since the 1990s. In the UK, one of the first of its kind appeared in Hackney, London in 2015, with others now popping up in Leeds and Greater Manchester.

Brenda Puech led London’s parklet revolution when she transformed a parking space outside her home into a parklet, creating a game-changing innovative use of street space. The immensely popular creation led to parklet permits being made legal in Hackney and other London boroughs. 

Living Streets has teamed up with Brenda Puech to create a Parklets toolkit to help others follow in her footsteps and reclaim public spaces in their local area.

The toolkit has launched this week, just in time for International Car Free Day (22 September). 

Parklet

Tanya Braun, Head of Policy and Communications, Living Streets said:

“By transforming kerbside space into parklets, we can create nicer, safer and more attractive streets which encourage people to spend time there – walking, cycling and socialising.

“Parklets provide places to stop and rest, meaning that people who might normally struggle to get around have the confidence to walk further than usual. They also provide a space for children to play and for residents to chat.

“The whole community can benefit from a place dominated by community spirit rather than cars and congestion.”

Brenda Puech was crowned Living Streets' Charles Maher Award winner 2019 at their National Walking Summit. The annual prize recognises the efforts of individuals and groups to help people walk more.

Brenda, who chairs the Hackney Living Streets Group, tried to pay for an annual permit for the parking space outside her home but was told she could not have a permit for anything that did not have an engine, so Brenda took matters into her own hands.

Where I live, there are more than twice as many households that don’t own a car as ones that do. Yet nearly all our kerbside space is devoted to car parking. I couldn’t shake off the feeling of what a waste of precious space it was. Public spaces in cities and kerbsides should be for people, not just for storage of private, stationary metal boxes. After much campaigning, we are in the position now where we have a parklet permit scheme. It’s proving to be truly revolutionary for communities.

Brenda Puech

Living Streets’ Parklets toolkit has advice on how to start your own parklet, from getting relevant permissions to promoting your parklet; plus thoughts from Brenda Puech and other parklet pioneers, including Chris Boardman, MBE.

Living Streets will be hosting parklets and other events in London, Birmingham and Hastings to celebrate International Car Free Day. Find out more here.

Boardman